Mental health in ruins


Hello everyone, I'm sorry for posting this here but I am not sure where else to go. I am beginning my third year of my PhD and I feel like I have completely lost who I am. I have always been this cheerful optimistic glass half full kind of person but ever since I began this journey I’m not the same person. I am constantly down, I sit and cry for no reason and I find nothing and no one interesting anymore. Having been away from home for the past 7/8 years to complete my studies has meant that I’ve practically lost contact with most of my close friends as they’ve moved on with their lives and integrated into the community back home.

I am so lucky to have a supervisor who always checks in to make sure I’m on track, he’s encouraging and makes himself available when I need him. I feel like I’m being ungrateful to feel the way I do when many others get stuck with unsupportive supervisors. I feel like a waste of space, a human without any value or friends and I’m struggling to find the will to live like this.

I’m not sure what to do with myself and I’d really appreciate any advice.


Hi trevalda,

We're so sorry to see that you're not having the easiest time currently, and we hope you'll find support here on the Forum.

Please do bear in mind that if you’re having a difficult time you might find it helpful to have a look at Mind’s information and ideas of where to get help ( Samaritans are also a wonderful resource if you’d like to talk to someone, and are available 24/7 (

If your situation becomes more urgent, please get professional help as soon as possible. Phone NHS 111, contact your GP, ring 999 or go to A&E.

Take care, The Postgraduate Forum Team.


It's hard being away from home and family and friends - I do it as well (home middle east, phd UK). I don't think you need to feel ungrateful at all - you feel the way you feel and it's great that it sounds like your supervisor is very supportive. With all you've mentioned him being supportive is not going to be a miracle cure and lift you out of distress - it sounds like he's just trying to make your life a little easier by being available and checking in.

Are there any other students around, even ones you don't know that well? It might also be worth trying to get back in touch with an old friend - maybe re-establishing that link to home a bit more might help?

I would definitely have a chat with the GP as well though, a PhD is tiring and stressful and I wouldn't be surprised if experiencing it (and away from home too) can trigger a depression.

Mostly though: you are not worthless. You are a human being undertaking an extremely difficult task (a PhD) with the added difficulty of doing it away from home. I think it's good you are thankful for your supervisor but please don't feel ungrateful for receiving support - it's part of what being a supervisor is and should be.


Thank you so much kenziebob for the advice ( home middle east too:) ) and also for your kind support and encouragement. I was having one of my bad days when I posted but these are the thoughts that go through my mind when I am at my lowest point.

I've finally forced myself to book an appointment with the student counselling service offered at the University and I'm hoping I'll be able to see some positive change in the way I think and in the self-confidence that I currently severely lack.

Unfortunately I have tried to re-establish these links but it's so difficult to continue to push for friendships when you feel rejected or that people would rather put in the effort with people that are immediately available. I have met some lovely people in my department and in the office but sometimes the age gap and responsibilities (like having children) mean we don't actually converse that much off campus.


Hi trevalda

I can totally relate to everything you said in your post. It's taken me 2 years to admit that I'm really struggling, not so much with the work but with everything you said. As soon as I admitted it to myself and my other half I instantly felt like a weight had been lifted off me. You've taken the first step, making an appointment with a counsellor and I hope you feel the same relief that I did.



Hi Dr_Crabby, thank you for sharing your experience and I'm going to try and remain positive. Fingers crossed I do xx